Dear friends -
To paraphrase the Holy Angels, I bring you good news of two great joys! And some important liturgical notes, as well, so please read below!
I wish each of you a happy and blessed (and well-fed!) Thanksgiving - enjoy!
Faithfully in Christ,
Great Joy #1
Pope Francis has appointed Monsignor Steven Lopes as the first Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter! Bishop-elect Lopes, a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has served for more than ten years as an official in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, and has worked on the Ordinariate "project" since its inception, including guiding the commission tasked with incorporating classically Anglican liturgies into Catholic worship. I've had the pleasure of meeting Bishop-elect Lopes and hearing him speak on two occasions, including when he led the Ordinariate's clergy retreat two years ago. I could not be more pleased and encouraged by the appointment. Bishop-elect Lopes will be ordained in Houston on Candlemas (2/2). I will be sending you more news soon, but in the meantime, you can read all about Bishop-elect Lopes and the significance of his appointment here:
Great Joy #2
Our second bit of good news is that this Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent, the Missal created for the use of the Ordinariates goes into use (finally!). Divine Worship: The Missal is a beautifully produced work, truly "a treasure to be shared" with the whole Church. (Our friend Fr James Bradley has some beautiful photographs of the Missal - take a look!)
The arrival of our Missal heralds some changes to the celebration of our liturgy, and Advent itself brings a few changes. So that you may enter fully and actively into worship, please read though these notes:
- Divine Worship allows Ordinariate communities to say either "Holy Spirit" or "Holy Ghost." In keeping with the language of the Book of Common Prayer tradition, we will say "Holy Ghost" in nearly all instances.
- The temporary Missal we have been using directed that the response "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only, and my soul shall be healed" be repeated three times. Beginning this Sunday, and as allowed by the new Missal, we will say that formula one time only.
- Rather than the "Pew Missals" we have been using, we will have a simple Mass Card which will provide all the responses and texts required by the congregation. Due to the short time allowed for the production of these cards, a temporary version will be used this Sunday, with a more sturdy edition soon to follow. (Hand missals with complete texts of the Mass and other devotions will be produced and made available for purchase.)
- We will begin singing from a hymnal (The Hymnal 1982, commonly used in Episcopal/Anglican parishes), rather than printing hymns in a bulletin.
- On the first Sunday of Advent, Mass will begin with The Great Litany.
- As last year, during Advent we will sing the simple Greek/Latin chants of the Ordinary of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus & Benedictus, Agnus Dei). You can see and hear those chants here. Please do take a look, listen, and practice!
My goal is to make entering in to our particular form of the Mass as simple as possible for visitors and “regulars” alike, and to produce a minimum of paper to be thrown away each week. Of course, “simple” will have to wait till after this Sunday, due to the Litany and temporary cards.
This is an exciting time for the Ordinariate, and I believe that in God’s Providence, the advent of our Missal and the appointment of a Bishop will mark a maturation in our life and turning point in our joyful work of evangelism. Bishop-elect Lopes has taken as his episcopal motto Magna Opera Domini – “Great are the works of the Lord.” Great indeed is God’s goodness to us in Jesus Christ and in drawing us into the fullness of faith in Christ within the Catholic Church. The true “good news of a great joy” is God’s gift of himself to us Jesus Christ. Let us go with gladness and gratitude to the Altar of the Lord and share our good news in all the world!